Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has signed a cooperation agreement with the Government of Ecuador to address conservation needs in the Galapagos Islands over the next four years. The agreement was granted after an in-depth study was conducted on the previous achievements and objectives of Sea Shepherd's marine conservation efforts in the remarkable ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands–a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sea Shepherd previously worked to cooperate in the conservation of the natural protected areas in the Galapagos, in the protection of marine species, and in education and environmental awareness. The Galápagos Islands are a province of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. The island is home to a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else.
Sea Shepherd has previously used an innovative approach to conservation needs that have been used in cooperation with public institutions such as the Galapagos National Park, the National Police and the legal system. One such innovative approach includes a specialized K9 unit that is used to root out the movement of contraband wildlife products, specifically shark fins and sea cucumbers as well as other species, in airports and ships leaving the Galapagos archipelago. The trade in shark fins worldwide threatens many shark species.
This agreement between Sea Shepherd and the Government of Ecuador is therefore a welcome and satisfactory culmination to a process that has taken over one year.
Sea Shepherd's previous conservation work in the Galapagos includes the installation of an AIS system, donation of a patrol vessel, police communications equipment, a legal reform and capacity building program and a marine conservation book.